AN EXTENSIVE search for a Dublin man who has been exposed to the elements on Connacht's highest mountain for two nights has resumed.
The 38-year-old man, who is an experienced hill-walker, was reported missing by his wife on Wednesday after he failed to make contact.
He had been due to spend Tuesday night sleeping in the Doolough valley below Mweelrea Mountain near Louisburg, Co Mayo but never made it back to his car.
“He went up on his own around midday on Tuesday for what was expected to be a five to six hour walk. He had a tent in his car and had planned to camp in the valley overnight. But it doesn't look like he returned to his car, the tent is still there,” explained Colm Byrne from Mayo Mountain Rescue who is leading the search.
A major search and rescue operation was launched on Wednesday night and resumed at first light this morning.
Up to 20 members of the Mayo Mountain Rescue team were joined by the coastguard helicopter this morning. A group of experienced climbers from the Galway Mountain Rescue Team travelled to the area early this morning and are set to join the search at midday.
The Dublin man is a member of the Mountaineering Club of Ireland and would have been a frequent climber of mountains around the country.
Mweelrea was a regular destination for the group.
Mr Byrne said that despite his experience, knowing the mountain will not necessarily be of help.
“He's a very experienced climber but knowing the mountain isn't always a help when the mists come in,” he said.
“Last night was not too bad but high on the mountain it's very, very cold and the winds are high all the time. But this is not a bad day to be searching and we're hopeful,” he added.
Mweelrea Mountain overlooks Killary Harbour and is a popular destination for hill-walkers. At 814m (2,671ft) it is the highest point in Mayo and in the province of Connacht. It consists of five peaks flanked on one side by Killary Harbour and on the other side by Doolough Pass, a glaciated valley.